Photography by Ian Cameron

Isle of Harris & Lewis Masterclass

Duration of Course: 5 days ------ £1295 (Max 4 Guests)
Duration of Course: 7 days ------ £1795 (Max 4 Guests)
(Single occupancy of twin/double rooms - Half Board).

* Dawn - Dusk field tuition

* Evening critique / Illustrated lectures / PS work

* All transport to/from location including ferry.

* Pick up/drop off to/from bus / train Station / accommodation.

The Outer Hebrides and in particular the Isles of Lewis and Harris are our most westerly inhabited islands.  They are astonishingly beautiful, sparsely populated and only reachable by ferry or plane.  Harris is renowned for its world class pristine sandy beaches and shallow lagoons that display an amazing array of hues.   On a clear day and with the changing tides, the sea passes over shallow sand banks creating layers of luminous colour, from pale yellow to rich turquoise.  As a consequence the Western Isles have become a Mecca for artists and photographers alike.  Of course there are wonderful beaches on mainland Scotland too, but what helps Harris and Lewis stand apart is the sheer colour and quality of the Atlantic light and the monstrous seas that roll in which shape the coast.  It's awe inspiring stuff and a magnetic lure back again.  Lewis has great beaches too, though the middle of the island is bleak.  The coastline here is much more rugged especially at the north tip of the island.

The Western Isles are often subject to high winds and driving rain, but twice a year the winds abate and the weather generally improves, (not guaranteed I hasten to add), during the month of May the Spring greens establish themselves and early flowering machair (intense and dense populations of short stemmed wild flowers), begin to establish themselves anongst the dunes.  Whilst they are not at their flowering peak it is at least prior to the midge season and it's population explosion in June and July.  A second opportunity often arises in  September and early October, this time autumn colours start to make an appearance, once more the winds subside and the weather generally improves, the islands start to change hue with the turning bracken, heather and deer grass, the midge population is thankfully reduced and the richer palette of colours provide a perfect companion for the vibrant turquoise hue of the sea.  

The five day course includes early pick up from Inverness accommodation, or train station, whereupon we will travel to the Ullapool ferry terminal and take the 2.5 hour ferry trip to Stornoway in Lewis before driving to our accommodation at the pleasant surroundings of the Harris hotel at Tarbert.  The course is ostensibly about beaches light and rugged coastline all of which Lewis and Harris excel at.  If coastal scenery is not your thing, then this course really is not for you.  Included in the trip are the marbled sands of Dhail Baig, the fabulous painted seascapes of Luskentyre bay, the bizarre salt marshes of Scarista, the massive dunes and perfect beaches of Traigh Mhor, Scarista, the standing stones of Callanish, the veined Lewissian Gneiss rocks that adorn Traigh Lar and other fantastic beach scenery all presided over by the changeable Atlantic light.   Although we will take the morning ferry across to Stornoway from  Ullapool, we will return in the morning of the last day of the course taking the Tarbert ferry to Uig on Skye (approx 1.5 hours) and meander back at our leisure stopping at scenic locations en route to Inverness.

The seven day course includes an early pick up from either your Inverness based accommodation or the train station, but this time the journey will start with a ferry crossing from Uig on Skye travelling to Tarbert in Harris (approx 1.5 hours) followed by a 2 minute drive to the Harris Hotel.  As indicated above Harris is about beaches, sunsets and sunrises over vast areas with a bit of rugged coast thrown in for good measure.  The difference between the five day and the seven day course apart from the obvious time difference is that we will stay four nights at the Harris hotel and 2 nights at the Loch Roag Guest House on Lewis near to the world renowned Callanish Stones allowing us much better access to the aforementioned, the Lewis beaches and cliff scenery much closer to sunrise and sunset without jeopardising meals.  Yes the Roag guest house provides very pleasant if limited choice of evening meals as well as breakfasts.  The reduced travel time between Lewis and Harris will greatly facilitate a more leisurely approach to Lewis' visual highlights of which there are many.  At the finish of the course we will drive to Stornoway departing on the ferry bound for Ullapool and complete the course in the reverse order to the 5 day trip.  Our anticipated arrival in Inverness between 6pm and 7.30pm, with a stop or two along the way time and weather permitting.
The Harris hotel is comfortable, personable, positioned with a pleasant view and in easy reach of the Tarbert Ferry terminal in Harris.  Accommodation is half board (2 courses a la carte) in twin / double en-suite rooms complete with the usual facilities.  There is also a couple of seperate dedicated rooms for screening presentations on a digital projector.  Ironically the urgency to be on location at sunrise is tempered by the fact that all the best locations face the west coast with mountains obscuring the rising sun so the urgency for very early starts is removed, save for a visit to Luskentyre bay which is broad enough and flat enough to facilitate a pre-sunrise.  In all cases photography is our priority and meals will fit around these times, the hotel aims to be as flexible as possible.

The Loch Roag Guest house is situated beside a loch of the same name, close to the famous Callanish Stones it is family owned and has some very pleasant twin/ double and single rooms most of which are en-suite with the usual facilities including Wifi and is probably in the very best area to suit our needs.  With closer proximity to the photographic heart of Lewis a few more possibilities open up to us Mangerstadh stacks can be visited early evening, Stac Phris a contorted rock arch is within timely access, Both Dail Mhor and Dail Baig are accessible at better times of the day as is tthe massive sandy beach at UIg Bay and yes we could even visit the Callanish stones at first light.  The additional time available means we can still do very full justice to the Isle of Harris too.

Harris and Lewis are amongst my most popular trips and have a deserved reputation for it's photographic possibilities but also for the atmosphere and peace it conveys.  I trust you'll enjoy it too. Transient Light will of course provide transport and all possible assistance to smooth your stay, assisting with your accommodation requirements before and after the course as required.

Grade: Moderate  Sandy beaches some dune climbing / short walks most of them less than a mile, one or two of them more awkward terrain.  Average fitness required.  Terms and Conditions apply.

A £250.00 deposit is required to reserve a place on the 5 day course.
A £300.00 deposit is required to reserve a place on the 7 day course.